Can Alzheimer’s Be Predicted By a Simple Blood Test?

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New research indicates a simple blood test may be capable of predicting if a person will develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s two to three years before symptoms allow diagnosis. A study published in Nature Medicine has identified ten lipid metabolites in blood plasma that correctly determined which individuals would develop cognitive impairment 90 percent of the time.

Mild cognitive impairment is a described by the Alzheimer’s Association as the noticeable loss of cognitive abilities in a person but not to the point where it interferes with daily life. It is considered to increase the risk that the person will develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Right now, there are an estimated 35 million people in the world who have Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 it is expected that 115 million people will be affected. It is a degenerative brain disorder and currently has no cure. The researchers behind the study speculated that part of the reason Alzheimer’s may be incurable is because there is currently no way to detect the disease before it progresses.

Howard J. Federoff, MD, Ph.D., professor of neurology and executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center, was an author of the report. “The preclinical state of the disease offers a window of opportunity for timely disease-modifying intervention,” Federoff stated in a press release from the Georgetown University Medical Center. “Biomarkers such as ours that define this asymptomatic period are critical for successful development and application of these therapeutics.”

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